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WEATHER

Storm warnings issued for France as heatwave set to break

The late summer heatwave that France is enjoying is predicted to break in spectacular fashion on Wednesday afternoon, with storm warnings issued one third of the country, including the Paris region.

Storm warnings issued for France as heatwave set to break
Photo: Emmanuel Pionner/AFP/Meteo France

After an unusually cool and damp July and August, France has been basking in temperatures up to 31C over the past week.

However Wednesday sees 32 départements, roughly a third of the country, placed on alert for thunderstorms with torrential rain, the possibility of localised flooding and hail in some areas.

The storms are predicted to hit on Wednesday afternoon and evening in the départements of Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Allier, Aude, Ariège, Aveyron, Cher, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Eure-et-Loir, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Nièvre, Hautes-Pyrénées, Sarthe, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Vienne and Yonne. 

French weather forecaster Météo France is predicting very heavy rain in a short time (40 to 60 mm in three to four hours), as well as hail in places and strong gusts of wind (80 to 100 km/h). 

The heaviest rainfall is expected in the northern part of the Aude département and southern Tarn, where 100 to 120mm of rain could fall in three hours.

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ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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